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Due to the proximity of Fursenfeldbruck AB to Soviet Block Nations, NATO discussions began in 1951 concerning the vulnerability to attach of the Furstenfeldbruck Air Base.  The base was located 32 km west of Munich and home of the 36th Fighter-Bomber Wing. A decision was made to move the base to the Eifel area.  Under contract with the United States Air Force, the French Army began construction of what would become Bitburg Air Base in Western Germany's Eifel Mountains in Rhineland-Palatinate in early 1951. Located in the French zone of occupation, the air base was situated on farm land that had been a Wehrmacht tank staging and supply area for the Battle of the Bulge in early 1944.   Bitburg Air Base was officially established as a United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE) installation on September 1, 1952, after the arrival of the 53rd Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 36th Fighter-Bomber Wing (FBW), in July from Furstenfeldbruck AB, Germany. The remainder of the wing (the 22nd and 23rd Fighter-Bomber Squadrons) arrived with their F-84E Thunderjets in November 1952.  The mission changed to the 36th Fighter-Day Wing.  On 9 Aug 1954 it became known as the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing.  The final change was the 36th Fighter Wing on 1 Oct 1991. The wing was deactivated on 1 Oct 1994. Click here for heritage pamphlet pdf of the 36th Wing. Bitburg school began construction in 1954 in what was later known as the middle school until expansion in 1963. Between 1956-1963 all the students were located in the middle school buildings.   As a temporary measure, prefab buildings were built to deal with the rising enrollment rate.  In 1963 the school was expanded to what was known as the high school from 1963-1975. Again due to rising student population, discussions began in 1973 on a proposal to build a new high school.  In 1974 the new high school began construction and the first high schoolers attended 75-76 calendar year.  The last year of Bitburg High, 2017, 154 students were enrolled, including 31 in the last graduating class. Bitburg High School had many Mascot designs over the years.  The various Baron mascot designs can be seen here.  The high school letterman jackets was blue and white.  The oldest known letterman jacket is shown here.  The design changed over the years and can be seen here.  The most famous Bitburg Letterman Jacket is the 1973 Tim O’lnick Jacket.  Click to see the map of all the states this jacket has traveled. The High School was very competitive in sports.  Upon entrance to the high school a large trophy case showing the various awards obtained over the years was impressive.  Many interesting records on the students attending at Bitburg High took place. The first student to graduate from Bitburg High was an active duty Airman named Sgt Francis Carney who took night classes and graduated in 1953.  The first class to graduate was in 1956 with this group photo here.  One of the original teachers Fraulein Lichter served from 1956-1981 teaching German to many students over the years.   The very first student to complete all her education at Bitburg was Laena Phillips in 1988.  The Hollenbeck family had all the siblings graduate from Bitburg.  The years they attended are from 1978-1987. Yearbook facts and figuresThe first printed evidence of a yearbook is 1956 which displayed 68 students.   The Air Force produced a single bound yearbook for several European schools from 1957 thru 1962 call Vapor Trails.  The first Bitburg yearbook was produced in 1963 called the Unsere Andenken. Traditionally all the yearbooks included the photos of the wing commander and the base commander at the beginning of the yearbook.  This tradition ended in the 1969 yearbook but resumed in the 1975 – 1980 yearbooks.    The junior high classroom photos were included in every Baron Shield until 1976 with the exception of the 1963 yearbook. The first yearbook that included color photos was the 1981 Volume 19.  The first completely color yearbook was the 2006 Volume 44 yearbook.  In 2014 the junior high students were incorporated, once again, into the yearbooks similar to 1957-1975.  Three companies printed the yearbooks.   Walsworth out of Marceline, MO, Taylor publishing out of Dallas Texas and Josten's publishing out of Vialia California.  In 1983 a new tradition called a Colophon was introduced in the advertisement section of the yearbooks.  Basically the colophon reported the font type, the quality of the paper used, the number of copies and the publishing company. Sport   Facts :     The   first   Stars   &   Stripes   article   on   Bitburg   High   was   Oct   13   1957   which   was   a   football   game   between   the   Mannheim   Bisons   and   Bitburg   Barons.     The Bisons   won   the   contest   34-28.         In   1957   Bitburg   was   in   a   division   called   the   6   Man   school   conference.      This   conference   was   made   up   of   the   following   schools:     Augsburg,   Berlin,   Bremerhaven,   Mannheim,   and   Wurzburg.   These   schools   were   so   small   they   were   not   considered   in   the   class   B   schools.      On   April   25 th    1970 Bitburg   hosted   the   first   home   track   meet.      In   1972   the   student   population   was   now   large   enough   to   move   up   into   the   Class   A   division.      Girls   were   allowed   to compete   in   track   in   the   spring   of   1974   and   Cross   Country   in   the   fall   of   1974.      There   was   a   total   of   33   high   schools   in   Germany   and   the   school   colors,   mascots and the years these schools were active is on this display . The total of American children born in Bitburg since 1952 is higher than the total population of Germans in Bitburg.  Many Americans took their marriage vows in Bitburg. At the same time many local German women got married to soldiers from the US-Air-Force.